A CURRICULUM VITAE (CV) is a comprehensive overview of those accomplishments that are relevant to teaching and research positions or fellowship and grant applications. It differs from a resume not only in length-–resumes are usually limited to a 1-page format while CVs can be considerably longer (anywhere from 3-20+ pages)—but also in content. The CV is a record of your scholarly achievement. It is a backward (historical) look at your education and academic experiences. The resume is a forward-looking document that takes your knowledge and experiences and records them as transferable skills. Before applying for any position, make sure you understand the differences and are using the appropriate document.
Curriculum Vitae Basics
Purpose: Academic/faculty, research positions, grants and fellowships applications
- Resources with Templates: Microsoft Word, Canva , Academic iNDex
- Length: Highly flexible, often much longer than a resume
- Document Margins and Font: Utilize .5 ("narrow") or 1 inch margins for the document layout and basic font such as Times, Calibri, etc. with a 10-12 pt. font size
- Easy to Scan: A hiring manager’s first look may last no longer than 30-60 seconds, so keep your document clean and consistent without leaving too much or too little white space. Use CAPITAL LETTERS, bold and italic font, and spacing to help the reader absorb essential information. However, try to avoid using too many variations in font.
- Style: Adjust the look of the document based on the employer and position. Often, a CV has a basic look but can utilize some design elements such as lines underneath headings and some color to create a more contemporary look
- Tailored: Customized for each specific position and employer to showcase the MOST RELEVANT information
- Clear, Concise and Organized: Focus on the employer’s needs, emphasizing skills, experiences and technical expertise that demonstrate your ability to add immediate value
- Error-free: Proofread several times for spelling, grammar, and structure. Your advisor and a Graduate Career Consultant should review the document before you send it to prospective employers
- Headings: Utilize headings targeted to the job and employer (ex. "Experience" becomes "Teaching Experience" ; "Research" becomes "Publications"). Keep the most relevant sections near the top and supplemental sections further down on the CV. Consider developing a "Professional Summary" at the top to highlight your overall experiences and skills set and subcategories underneath main headings to break up experiences (ex. "Research" with subcategories of "Publications", "Working Papers", "Conference Presentations"...)
- Bullet-Points/Descriptions: Showcase experiences in more depth by describing relevant skills and responsibilities. Often the structure of Strong Action Verbs + Details (Who, How, What) + Results/Purpose is helpful to create short, yet effective and evidence-driven/quantifiable, sentences that leave a lasting impression
- Online Presence: Consider developing and including a profile link to LinkedIn, Academica.edu, and/or a professional website
- Europass: Resource when applying abroad
- The Academic Job Search Handbook
- The Professor Is In
- Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering
- First Time on the Job Market? (Chronicle of Higher Education's job site)
- The Curriculum Vitae Handbook
- Writing An Effective Academic CV, Elsevier
- Graduate Career Services has a Pinterest site where we have posted a wide variety of expertly curated online content that may be of interest to graduate students. Check out our Curriculum Vitae (CV) board for more tips and advice!